Pune: Not many have doubted the batting talent of Kolkata Knight Riders’ (KKR) Suryakumar Yadav. He has scored runs on good surfaces as well as on challenging tracks.
He can execute all kind of strokes in the book. But often, he has come under fire for trying to be too flashy and paying the price.
KKR's Suryakumar Yadav hits one over the fence as RPS skipper MS Dhoni looks on in Pune on Sunday. Pic/AFP
Sunday wasn’t one of those occasions. Promoted to No 3 position in the absence of Manish Pandey, Yadav had a responsibility. Chasing 161 against Rising Pune Supergiants, Yadav saw openers Robin Uthappa and Gautam Gambhir being dismissed inside the first three overs.
With the pitch offering assistance to spinners, Yadav had a tough job at hand, that of staying at the crease as well as scoring at a good rate.
And the Mumbai lad didn’t disappoint. He never allowed the pressure of the climbing run-rate to affect him, and kept finding the boundaries without taking any risks.
“It was a gamble to promote Yadav to No 3. But the way he played, I thought it was unbelievable,” KKR skipper Gambhir said.
Yadav, who walked into bat on the second delivery of the KKR innings, struck five fours and two sixes, and raced to 40 off 23 balls by the end of Powerplay. His hitting allowed KKR to score 59 in the Powerplay, almost double of what their
opponents were able to score.
Following that, Yadav lost another partner in Shakib Al Hasan, and the youngster quickly realised the importance of building a partnership with Yusuf Pathan.
Once again he kept the risk element out of his game, and scored runs with relative ease. “I was just focussed on playing my natural game,” Yadav said. Despite his cautious knock, the only thing Yadav was disappointed with was not being able to finish off the game. But not many would blame the right-hander for failing to read a well-pitched googly from Murugan Ashwin. It was a classic case of a batsman making the bowler earn his wicket, something that is not very common in T20s.
The job wasn’t complete yet, and KKR still needed 42 runs from 25 balls when Yadav got out, which they eventually scored with three balls to spare. But if not for Yadav’s 49-ball 60, KKR might have been out of the game.